Aligning at a Decimal: MS PowerPoint

Dennis Faas's picture

Many presentations involve slides containing numbers. They could be financial figures, measurements or other key indicators. If these figures include decimals, they should be aligned at the decimal point. In this manner, your audience can easily compare numbers by looking at the figures to the left and right of the decimal point.

Having said that: the default alignment when you use the Tab key is left alignment of the starting number. Some people try to use leading spaces to attempt to create decimal alignment, but it never works properly and looks strange to your audience when the numbers are aligned (but not exactly).

Below are the steps to follow so that you have perfectly aligned numbers on your slides.

  1. Click in the text box or placeholder where you want to align the text.
  2. Turn on the Ruler (if it is not displayed at the top of the screen already) so that you know where to set the tabs by clicking on View | Ruler.
  3. To the left of the ruler you will see a button that looks like a small capital L. This is the Tab button and it will toggle the different types of tabs to select from by clicking on it.
  4. Click on the Tab button until it turns into the decimal tab, which looks like an upside down capital "T" with a decimal point next to it.
  5. Click in the white part of the ruler where you want the decimal tab to appear and you will see the decimal tab symbol appear.
  6. To move the tab after you have placed it on the ruler, just click on it and drag it along the ruler to the spot you like it to be placed.
  7. If you want to remove the tab, simply click on it and drag it off the ruler.
  8. To align your figures, use the Tab key to move over to the decimal tab spot you have already set. As you enter the number, you will see the figures entered to the left of the decimal tab until you enter the decimal, at which point it switches to entering the numbers on the right of the decimal tab.

Next time you need to present figures that have decimals, use this technique to make sure your numbers can be quickly and easily understood by your audience.

Note: I've covered Tabs in an earlier article, and you can click here to refresh your memory and see the appearance of the different types of tabs. To see the screenshots for this article, click here.

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